Taoist Landscape Study with Philosopher carrying baby, 24x12” oil on panel

Taoist Landscape Study with Philosopher carrying baby, 24x12” oil on panel

The Philosopher Pees

I am starting a series of works about women in Chinese landscape painting. It started this summer at the Met, where i studied the paintings in the Met’s collection and drew from them. Currently I am reading about the history of Chinese landscape painting and doing sketches as I think about the work. In my initial research, it appears that painting traditions and masters were centered in families, where painting skills were handed down from male painter to his sons. Women are absent from these re-tellings where there is scant historical evidence. As with my work on Narcissus, I find myself building women back into the history and into the paintings themselves.

My research has centered on catalogs about the Ellsworth collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art: including

Beyond Representation
Between Two Cultures

The Philosopher

The initial studies for this series have been about a female Philosopher who (while wandering the mountains reflecting on the Dao) gets scared, tired, hungry. She cares for children, eats, pees, and sleeps. This ties into the work I have done far about Narcissus, whose dogged pursuit of herself is limited by real constraints. I am interested in the quotidian and intimate experiences of women. I paint about how intellectual life occurs simultaneous to daily indignities and trials, in the real places where our soft body tissue interacts with hard stone, wood, and dirt.

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The Philosophers consider their Options, 20x16" oil on panel

In the Center Program

I work with two related languages: painting and print. I would like to build this work at the monumental scale of a lot of contemporary Chinese painting, so I am not sure yet which media I will work with. I expect it will be a hybrid of painting, printmaking. I would like to use screen printing in this project, which I have never used before, so I am excited to have access to screen printing and textile classes.

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The world holding together as the Philosopher walks, 12x8” watercolor

In Dialogue with Professionals in the Center Program

I am jumping outside my western tradition in this work. I am studying a tradition that is not ‘mine’ and critiquing it, which could be problematic if not done carefully. At the same time, I think that the general re-writing of euro-centric, male-centric history that we are in the middle comes from an abundance of voices across different traditions. Making this new work in the context of the Center program will deepne the dialogue that I am having with multiple painting traditions about women in history and practice.